ís fourth novel, published in 1978, The World According to Garp
was a bestseller for several years. The book was also a finalist for the National Book Awards for Fiction in 1979 and its first paperback edition won the Award the following year.
A movie adaptation directed by George Roy Hill and starring Robin Williams
was theatrically released in 1982 with the screenplay written by Steve Tesich.
- Author Appeal: Sex, bears, and wrestling.
- Author Avatar: Possibly Garp for Irving.
- Auto Erotica : Ends in the most tragic way, including Groin Attack wherein one party has his penis bitten off, and Eye Scream where Garp's son loses an eye to the gearshift. Ouch.
- Boarding School / One Gender School : The prep school where Garp is allowed to attend as the son of a staff member. A fictional version of Irving's own prep school, Exeter.
- Contrived Coincidence: When The World According to Garp was written, with the protagonist's biological father a comatose but aroused World War II, Irving was unaware that his own biological father had been in the military.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male : Jenny's conception of Garp. Most definitely not OK, as Garp's father was a bed-bound patient in the hospital where she worked. No one knows how it happened, so she never has to answer for it.
- Elective Mute : Of an extreme kind: The Ellen Jamesians are a group of Straw Feminists who cut out their tongues in support of a young rape victim.
- Embarrassing Nickname : Cushion and Pooh.
- Infant Immortality : An inversion.
- Most Writers Are Writers : Garp grows up to be a writer.
- Show Within a Show : Or, in this case, a story within a story. Some early stories of Garps are included as part of the text, to show his development as a writer.
- Straw Feminist: Zig Zag. Irving explores feminism from a man's perspective, between Jenny's role as an "icon" to the Ellen Jamesians to his friendship with transsexual Roberta Muldoon.
- Your Cheating Heart : Garp's wife
- Write Who You Know: John Irvingís mother Frances Winslow had not been married at the time of the authorís conception could be the basis of T. S. Garp being an illegitimate child.